A GORILLA called Flagged was centre of attention in Paignton town centre when it was unveiled.
The Paignton Busness Improvement District business plan had originally asked for a Paignton Zoo trail through Paignton town centre.
Paignton BID manager Matthew Dart said that after meetings with Pippa Craddock, the director of marketing and development at Paignton Zoo, it was apparent that Pippa wanted to make the trail into something much bigger to not only celebrate Paignton Zoo's 90th anniversary but to raise awareness of and money for vital projects to conserve endangered species.
The BID was one of the organisations to sponsor a gorilla. Flagged was created with the artist Penny Robson. Two younger helpers Finton and Asher handed out 500 African sand castle flags to children in Victoria Street and the morning was busy with people finding out about the trail, said Matthew.
Penny's inspiration was from childhood memories of the paper flags that went on sand castles, with this idea Penny took it to the next stage and researched where the gorillas still remain, with this information she used those 10 countries flags to cover the gorilla where these mighty animals still remain. The current population of the Mountain Gorilla stands at 720 and the Cross River Gorilla population is only 300 and these are on the critically endangered species list.
Asked why she had paid so much attention to his eyes, Penny said: "Under all of the flags there is still a gorilla underneath."
Flagged has been sponsored by all the businesses in Paignton Town Centre through the BID. Matthew said: "We would like to take this opportunity to say well done to Penny the artist and her Adults and Community Learning students at South Devon college and to Pippa and her Great Gorillas Project team and Wild in Art for all their hard work and making this project happen."